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Poster: light into ashes Date: Nov 24, 2007 11:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: poll on the changing eras

BryanE's summary history of the Dead made me wonder about a couple things -
He talks of their early phase as 'primitive', but full of energy & potential -
I would ask, at what point do you think they become good players? If they're raw & amateurish in '67, are they still in '68? '69? When listening to, say, the Fillmore '69 shows, do you think, "They could've played this better a couple years later"?

He also mentioned Garcia in particular as honing his guitar skills and reaching his peak in the '80s -
I'm curious, how many people agree? Was his playing better in '82 than '72?

And for the band as a whole, how many folks think that the 'tight professionalism' (by Dead standards) of the '80s made for better shows than the loose experimentalism and long jamming of the '60s?

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Poster: fireeagle Date: Nov 25, 2007 4:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

>69 - raw dead
70>71 - transitory dead
72>74 - flying high dead
75 - resting dead
76>83 - flying high again dead
84>86 - dead dead
87>92 - phoenix dead
92>95 - ending dead
95> - never ending virtual dead

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Poster: barongsong Date: Nov 25, 2007 7:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

Hey that's pretty right on except there is always the ever pesky exception to the rule that thankfully rears its head more often than not.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 25, 2007 12:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

Well, we had this discussion before, BUT it was a long time ago. We went thru all the angles...I will speak as I did then for there being a drop off in most aspects of ability, but especially vocally, after the early 70s. Jerry's playing changes quite a bit, and I would say that it is hard to argue that he couldn't do things with the guitar until in his thirties or forties...rather, I think he could do most technical things as well in the late 60s as he was ever going to do...just as most all the great guitarists could and did do most of their best playing prior to hitting 30.

So for me, it is the change in what material they did and how they did, which didn't have a lot to do with "getting better" in a technical sense--just different. I have listened to Phil a great deal, and think he could play a bass as well by the end of 69 as he could by the end of 89. I don't think he got better, technically, over that time period.

In any case, doesn't mean for a minute that you might not like his sound, Phil, or Jerry, more at one time period. But, I just don't think it was a case of not being able to play well enough until they had 15 yrs under their belt. The vocal ability is one area where it just makes sense there would be a drop off, in terms of range, strength, etc., especially given how hard they worked themselves. Phil certainly lost his voice much past 75, it seems to me, and I always thought that Jerry did too. But again, as was argued prior, it doesn't mean you might not prefer what they were doing during a latter time period.

This post was modified by William Tell on 2007-11-25 08:48:48

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Nov 25, 2007 12:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

it's an interesting debate/discussion, and why i especially enjoy and profit from the viewpoints of forumites such as Bryan, Will Tell, Earl, and Flashback, possibly others i am not recalling; as for my own take, apart from maybe one or two FM recorded tapes, i discovered the Grateful Dead on my own through their studio releases, and for the most part, pretty much focused on the early albums for my musical enjoyment; one exception to this is Dead Set, which i found utterly fascinating, i couldn't get enough of it and played that vinyl again and again and again; my live experience of the GD spanned '85 to '92, and whatever the reason, after my last two shows in Charlotte, i just didn't have it in me anymore to divest myself of time and energy to follow the band or its music; discovering the LMA opened up an entirely new vista for me of the GD's music; for the first time i was able to explore eras that i had only had a partial glimpse of, and needless to say, the education and experience has been, and continues to be, profound; and so for the last near two years, almost unconsciously, i have been coming to some conclusions; i mean, you listen to the same band, through the course of thirty years of live music, you are bound to form opinions; and what i have discovered is that i find the music of '68 to early '70 some of the most enjoyable sounds by the GD, and yet, it doesn't fulfil all my listening needs ... it's exploratory, it's often primitive, it's what i will reach for when all the lights are out and i'm wanting to escape into some universe i never experienced first hand, but those years lack a certain something i cannot define; brilliant, genius, acid-laced, mad, insane ... yes, but not fully evolved i will agree; and so, what the past two years has proven to me is that 1981 is the center for me, it is where i will return to again and again after i have taken a detour to other eras; 1981 is the meat, the vegetables, the bread, and the dessert; i barely listen to anything post '83, apart from a show here and there, such as 4/1/91; sorry, i know i didn't really answer your question, but thought i'd throw in my two rupees anyway; nazdravi

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 25, 2007 6:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

In 1981 I was still a youngster, that year was probably the year I went to the most live gigs (in one year) I ever did.

There was so much going on musically, I rarely had time then to see the GD altho I did see Jerry Garcia Band once that year.

(So I'm unfamiliar with why '81 would be a key year for GD shows).

But man, there was New Order, The Ramones, The Banshees, Roxy Music, Kate Bush, The Jam, The Buzzcocks, Flamin' Groovies... and the neo-Mod bands were just beginning to evolve into the neo-garage psych bands that stormed the underground scene circa '84-'87...

the post-punk bands '81 era were even more interesting than the raw '77 Punk bands...
REM was just starting up... the college radio stations were the thing to listen to... so much I'm not even listing was happening in '81 ('79-'83) that the GD then, to me who had started his musical adventure with them (and Miles Davis in 1970,
at live shows... were irrelevant.

oops, no offense. just telling it from my perspective.

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Nov 25, 2007 9:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

cream-puff, you are definitely speaking my language, no offense taken at all; the early to mid '80s, despite what some would say, were incredible in the evolution of reaching the masses with underground/independant artists/bands; you mention REM, but i would throw in Husker Du, the Smiths, Mission Of Burma, the Feelies, Bad Religion, and later in the '80s, the Charlatans UK, the Chameleons, Galaxie 500, Spacemen3 (admit it, best album title of all time: 'Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To'), all of which took music and performance to heights never before imagined, at least from my perspective; and so, yes, while i was exploring the GD and it's music and 'scene', i by no means failed to discover what else was going on; and as for the '90s, well, that's an entirely different discussion!

sorry to impose, but could you possibly send me your e-mail?


This post was modified by Arbuthnot on 2007-11-26 03:27:58

This post was modified by Arbuthnot on 2007-11-26 03:29:26

This post was modified by Arbuthnot on 2007-11-26 05:34:39

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 25, 2007 8:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

email sent.

The Bongos
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Kate Bush
Camper Van Beethoven
The Church
Lloyd Cole
The Cure
The dB's
Dinosaur Jr
Dream Syndicate
Guadalcanal Diary
Robyn Hitchcock
Hoodoo Gurus
The Housemartins
Hüsker Dü
Indigo Girls
The Jesus and Mary Chain
The La's
Let's Active
Love and Rockets
Midnight Oil
The Mighty Lemon Drops
Bob Mould
New Order
The Pursuit of Happiness
The Replacements
Sonic Youth
Soul Asylum
The Smiths
The Smithereens
spacemen 3
10,000 Maniacs
They Might Be Giants
Throwing Muses
Violent Femmes
The Waterboys
Of A Revolution
Three O'Clock /Salvation Army
Backdoor Men
Green On Red
Untold Fables
Chesterfield Kings
Marshmallow Overcoat
Laughing Soup Dish
Thirteen Senses
Rain Parade
True West
and so many more!!

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Nov 25, 2007 7:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

To decribe something as "primitive" does not necessarily mean unskilled. It's more like the difference between "raw" and "refined." In terms of the band there's also the nuance of change that can be described as either "evolutionary" or "transisional."

I think most agree that the band went through periods of transition, and much of it can be delineated with personnel changes. There are some fairly clear lines drawn at the end of Pigpens tenure and the onset of the Keith and Donna years. The change was even more evident when Brent came on board.

Even these changes didn't happen in a vacuum, the evolution of the band rolled on - as did the evolution of the world that surrounded it. Technology in electronics and sound reinforcement had a great deal to do with the evolving sound of the band.

Garcia was an equipment freak, trying everthing new to enter the world of guitar sound, although rarely adding new processing equipment to his rig. The "Wall of Sound" is another well known example of adopting new technolgy. The sound cancelling technology that sprung from the Wall of Sound ultimately resulted in the development of in-ear monitors that are used by most of the industry today.

Then there is the personal development of each of the members, and most famously Keith being tossed for his lack of development. Garcia's drug habits were another example of a roadblock preventing, or at least slowing personal development. Certainly, Garcia may not have been a more skilled guitar player at the end of his life versus in his thirties, but rest assured, he had a better understanding of the craft.

As for the musical eras of the band, I do use the phrase primitive for 66-71. 72 was the year of the cowboy. 73 was the onset of the colaborative "ensemble" years which really continued until 79, although there were some noticable changes from tour to tour. The Brent years seemed to rise and fall with the health of the band, their singular and cumulative drug use.

For me, the end of the band came at Brents death. There was nothing left to prove, creativity had all but ceased and the band appeared to be working solely to feed the machine. The center of my focus had always been Garcia, and by the 90's his work seemed far superior and invigorated in JGB and with his Grisman collaborations.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 25, 2007 10:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

Excellent points, as usual, Earl. I see "evolutionary change" as the real difference over the years, with Jerry especially, I think, being wedded to the need for something to keep his interest, inspire creativity, etc. And I think you are right--in some respects his solo endeavors gave him more opportunity for such expression as the years wore on. I think he also liked the experience more (smaller venues, etc., associated with his work with JGB, Grisman, etc.).

It also explains why folks, me as a prime example, that come to appreciate a particular sound, are setting themselves up for disappointment in being unable to enjoy the changes that come with their development. In a sense, the fact that they didn't sound like they did in 89 when playing a song from 69 is really an absolute necessity associated with their creative development.

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 25, 2007 5:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

they were "raw and amateurish" in mid-'65, at Magoo's Pizza Parlor in Menlo Park, and starting at the Kesey Acid Tests, they started plumming territory no one even thought about before.

Then, in late '65 they recorded a batch of two track stereo masters in the studio, some of which are avail. to stream on the LMA.

Songs from those sessions that sound far from amateur, at least to me, include "The Only Time Is Now" which shows they had learned a lot from The Beatles as to going electric (and The Beau Brummels?) and harmonizing in the pop girl group sound filtered thru McCartney & Lennon.

Only later would they (the GD) get cocksure enough to let loose in the Rolling Stones jam/riff-a-thon Richards style, by way of Chuck Berry and all those blues cats (whom the GD were listening to, but to be sure, they were at plenty of parties in the '65-'66 nites when the Stones lps were on the turntable).

By '66 they were far from amateur, tho live they were indeed raw.

But again the studio recordings they made (in '66) were far from raw.

On the other hand, compared to the L.A. psych hit records being made in '66; e.g. "I Had Too Much To To Dream Last Night" by The Electric Prunes, the GD were far behind in terms of polished psychedelic recordings.

Maybe the stuff the Dead were doing at the Acid Tests was weird enough - even avant garde enough - to be far and above anything on the top 40 radio by The Seeds, The Blues Magoos (NY), The Remains (Boston), or even The Beatles (London by this point) in '66; but they couldn't hold a candle to those and other bands commercially, so yes, in comparison to 1966 hit records in the acid vein the GD were woefully behind in terms of making (1966) recordings ready for airplay.

And, by 1967, while they made great leaps forward in terms of live performances, and they made a respectable 1st lp, which some to this day claim - in spite of every condradicting opinion by heads and family - is their finest studio hour, with such onslaughts as Cream Puff War, they were not yet at their peak in terms of furious energy in performance.

I feel the uncut unedited remastered studio version of Cream Puff War is the best one.
The same may be true (for me and others) of Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), Cold Rain And Snow, and New Minglewood Blues.

I did say maybe!

The first live stuff that starts going way into the auteur realm, that shows these guys were progressing at an amazing rate would definitely be sometime in 1968.

But they did impress people who were actually listening, as far back as Montery Pop Festival 1967, that Garcia could play, man... equipment problems be damned.

1969 is more of a peak in terms of technology for the band, and 1970 they got truly professional in terms of vocal arrangements.

It's all downhill from 1971 on, in one way or another: one step forward, two steps back... like that.

This post was modified by cream-puff-war on 2007-11-26 01:56:32

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Nov 25, 2007 8:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

okay cream-puff, you ever consider freezing your head, cryogenically so-to-speak, a la Ted Williams?

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 25, 2007 8:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

it will be a loss, when my last brain cell (of 2 remaining) bites the dust.

where do I sign up to freeze-dry my noggin?

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Poster: Jerrob Hungar Date: Nov 26, 2007 3:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

Thanks guys. Such a pleasure to read.

From the sublime to the practical...
c-p-w, Not wishing to be a pain but as you're going to the effort of adding the attachments, I thought I'd let you know that I get access forbidden when I click on your attachments. Is it just me?

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 26, 2007 8:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

the system is experiencing "dips" as tracey pooh (our moderator) calls them.

Sometimes the attachments work when the post is refreshed a few times, but doing that might confuse the system even more...

best to wait it out and try opening all those files later, they will work eventually...

everyone is having probs seeing the added files at present.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Nov 26, 2007 4:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

I love their '67 shows, for one, and even that first album! I think they made a big transition in their playing from 'garage-band trying to do R&B pop' to 'psychedelic jammers' in late '66/early '67. But those two years saw a huge increase in their abilities - largely a matter of the rest of the band catching up to Garcia, and Garcia in turn deepening his style, and Pigpen's organ being thrust more into the background. I think the playing at Monterey and at 5/5/67 is great. And by the start of '68 I think they are masters of their style. (Cream just came to mind as a band that excels on the same turf, though they would've looked down on the Dead.)

"Downhill" is debatable....some might say they started going downhill in '69 when they dropped New Potato and added all those lame folk songs to their shows!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 25, 2007 6:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

Good stuff, CPW. Have to agree with Ian & Arb--logging on at the end of this holiday weekend has been quite a nice closing point...such great stuff by so many of the usual suspects here at the forum; brings such a feeling of satisfaction for having weathered the other odd and ends that pass for posts sometimes around here.

Thanks man, and thanks Arb, Ian, Earl and B! You guys have a great post thanksgiving week.

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 25, 2007 7:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras


who's ian?

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 25, 2007 7:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

Sorry--McGlone; he generally "signs off" by his first name, so often use it...easier to spell than the other too.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Nov 25, 2007 4:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

If I gave the impression that there was ever an amateurish quality to their musicianship, allow me to clarify that nothing in what I wrote was intended to do that. From what I've read over the years, they wanted the music to be just as good as it could be from the jump. Of course, trying to play under the conditions that were present at the Acid Tests presented a unique set of circumstances that did not necessarily exist anywhere else, but without them, I think it is fairly obvious that Grateful Dead music would have evolved in a radically different way than what it did. Like Jerry said, the Acid Tests presented a situation wherein they not only did not have to fulfill expectations about The Grateful Dead, they did not even have to fulfill expectations about music, giving them a freedom to experiment that artists rarely have.

What is important to recognize is that even though by '66 and much of '67 they had not yet attained the chops to pull off the kinds of monumental achievements on stage that started to become more and more prevalent through '68 and '69, there was an abundance of talent at work from the beginning and, again, enormous creativity. I feel it is safe to say that, as young guys just starting out as a working American band during a period in which they, and all of their contemporaries in the business, were heavily influenced by the possibilities within rock and roll that were being established by The Beatles and all who followed them during the British invasion, they were on a mission, if you will, to make great music. The onus was upon them to hold their own as professionals who could deliver the goods, and do so in a way that made them stand apart from the rest of the herd.

But as it is with any craft, practice makes perfect---or at least, practice brings one that much closer to perfection, and who can honestly say what that really is? But is a 1965 rendition of, for example, I Know You Rider as good as a 1969 performance? Not that I've ever heard. And is a '69 China>Rider as good as a '72? Well, we enter an area of analysis that involves a bit more subjectivity with that particular question, but I don't know why anyone would answer it in the affirmative. And generally speaking, my opinion about early Dead vs. later Dead is the same to a large degree: the skill of musicianship, the strength of the vocals, the arrangements and use of instrumentation all improved greatly from year to year.

Don't forget what I've been saying all along about the natural talent these musicians had from the beginning, though. But as that talent was developed, particularly in light of their nearly constant performing schedule, how could their playing not get better? And even better?

Now if you were to present me with a choice of listening to a Dark Star from the Fillmore West in 1969 or a Dark Star from, say, Rosemont Horizon in Chicago from 1994, the Fillmore version would get my vote hands down. Sure, The Grateful Dead's maturity by '94 was light years beyond what it was in '69, but whose wasn't? Just because they had about 25 more years of playing time under their belts does not necessarily mean that type of Grateful Dead song would be, for lack of another way of putting it, "better." In the 1960's and into the '70's, Dark Star was IT as far as the Dead's no-holds-barred improvisational modus operandi. However, by the time they had reached their twilight years, their interests and experience as musicians had gone through so many changes that the revival of Dark Star as a regular part of the song rotation amounted to its really being more of a crowd-pleaser than the showcase piece it had been during the height of its inclusion within their setlists.

And once they got proficient with songs like Dark Star, Cryptical Envelopment, New Potato Caboose, Alligator and Caution, even St. Stephen, the significance and success of those pieces as performance vehicles cannot be overstated. Their interest in playing them eventually waned, though, as more songs kept being written and added to the repertoire. And those songs required a different kind of musical proficiency. The compositions themselves were so much more complex as a whole. Yes, the early hallmark Grateful Dead songs also had a complexity of their own, but the changes that Jerry and Bob later learned how to write within the chord progressions they created had a much greater resolution to them, as well as a more consistent musical logic, especially if they were to be used in songs that they intended to continue performing year in and year out. I think that Jerry knew he could get a lot more mileage and felt more comfortable in the long run just in terms of rhythmic phrasing singing "Sound of the thunder with the rain fallin' down, and it looks like the old man is gettin' on," than he did singing, "through the transitive nightfall of diamonds."

"how many folks think that the 'tight professionalism' (by Dead standards) of the '80s made for better shows than the loose experimentalism and long jamming of the '60s?"

I don't feel that either is better than the other, but they were certainly a whole lot different from each other. Was Marlon Brando more worthy of an Oscar for On The Waterfront than he was for The Godfather? Was Lew Alcindor less of an exciting player to watch at UCLA than he was when he was playing for the Lakers under the name of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Did Jerry Garcia have less of an impact on the Grateful Dead audience while in the middle of an earth-shattering Dark Star at the Carousel Ballroom than he did while playing a ripping Deal to close out the first set at Shoreline Amphitheatre? I just don't think you can answer these types of questions with an across-the-board definitive yes or no, nor should you even be able to.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Nov 26, 2007 2:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

It's great to see such thoughtful posts.

Anyway, my take on the Dead is not one of 'improvement over time'....
One, the eras were so different that listening to different years gives quite different experiences. You won't find in a '72 show what you get out of '77, and vice versa. To a point, this was a band intent on changing itself and bringing diversity to its setlists as their interests changed. Even in the early years, I wouldn't dare say a '73 Dark Star must be better than a '69 because of all that practice & growth in-between. They can be taken on their own terms, and neither suffers from comparison. I can understand many of the things an '81 lover prefers....the Stellas, Let It Grows, Scarlets, etc.
Two, the band tended to reach a plateau and either stay there, or fall from there. I think their proficiency in jamming peaked rather early, and faded strongly after '75. Their songwriting also peaked in the early '70s, and all but collapsed in the '80s. Singing I can forgive, but I think their playing tends to get lazier, sloppier over time....not just dropping complex tunes they were tired of, but also favoring Jerry solos over full-band explorations, stifling every tune with the double-drum thud, and turning things like Playing in the Band and end-of-song jams into tinkles of notes that go nowhere, until another tune abruptly turns up. Or alternately, turning a once-mighty beast like the Other One into a brief straightforward rush-job that signals a series of Weir show-closers shortly ahead. And the use of MIDI divides many early vs. late Dead fans.
But that's all a big subject, and many folks disagree with the notion that later Dead weren't playing well: "in what year did they become godawful?" would be answered differently by everyone. This Archive is swarming with '90s fans. You can also point to some godawful '69 rendition of Hard to Handle as proof that even the young gods have no competition in sloppiness. And of course, let's not forget the millions who can't stand the Dead from whatever year!

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Poster: BryanE Date: Nov 26, 2007 6:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

"And of course, let's not forget the millions who can't stand the Dead from whatever year!"
Yep, they're out there, alright.

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Poster: mcglone Date: Nov 25, 2007 5:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras


thank you for your posts this weekend - really. between you and WT (and a couple of others) you've made logging in here worth it and then some. you've offered a readers digest (ish) condensed version of the american book of the dead written by someone we all care about, like and trust.

werd, bro...


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Poster: BryanE Date: Nov 25, 2007 5:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

I'm just as happy as can be to go on and on about Grateful Dead stuff, Ian, but if others get some enjoyment from reading, that makes it just that much better. Thanks for checking in!

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Nov 25, 2007 5:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

jeezus Bry, if you keep writing these sorts of brilliant one-off essays, you'll be putting me in want of your soon-to-be-published, 'A Life Lived In Music' by BryanE; seriously, thank you so much for adding to your yesterday's essay; it all hits home for me, not to mention that it reminds me that i probably need to be more productive in my 'free' time; again, very much appreciated; keep on truckin' as they say

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 25, 2007 5:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

Hey B--you know what strikes me about this thread? We are doing a better job of talking about it this time around! Damn, I suppose that means even we heads can evolve...I'll leave it to others to debate whether any 'creativity' comes of it.

I know I differ with others on the issue of "ability and the arrow of time" in that I focus more on the physicality of the act, and the various debilitations that time affords on that front, while others see the more cerebral aspect of experience and practice as being critical contributors.

As we have all said above in different ways, both these debate points are overshadowed by the "change" component, and hence the "deterioration" vs "practice makes perfect" comparison is inherently flawed.

One interesting anecdote that fits (har--of course!) my view on the degradation with time perspective came from my recent Kottke show. He was great--don't get me wrong--BUT very much not the player he was in the 70s interms of energy and power. He admitted that there are things he can no longer do because he fingers simply won't let him do it any more. Again, consistent with my take on what time can do to a musician.

I suppose what we really need are commentaries by the musicians themselves: did they find they did do things better with time? Or did the inevitable evolutionary change nullify the comparison so that they really are apples and oranges when evaluating even what they themselves did early on and latter day...

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Poster: He Live's Date: Nov 25, 2007 12:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: poll on the changing eras

"primitive" gets mis-used....dick latvala used the term for all eras of dead music, not just 66-69 or something.....shows from 78 may qualify as "primitive dead"....i think of it more as TOUCHSTONE all the points for the era, for what they was goin for....

I. Pizza/Practice/Acid Test (1965-66)
II. San Francisco Folk/Rock/Psychedlic (1967-69/woodstock)
III. Roots/Country/R&B (1970-71)
IV. Deep-space Jazz Unit (1972-74)
V. Birth of the Esoteric Dead (1975)
VI. The Wah-Wah Orchestra Years (1976-78)
VII. Brent's Golden Years (1979 - 1981)
VIII. Dark Period (1982 - 86)
IX. Phenomenon (1987 - 1995)

i only saw the band from opinion is moot anyway.....but this is all just a goof.

there is no summing it up or drawing too many lines. that stuff doesnt apply very well to the dead